The Ugly Truth


I know this title can convey to some a possible connection to a movie which I have no regard for, but in fact, it is just a simple way to draw in a reader. Isn't that the point of a title anyway, to be catchy?

So today, just a few days out from working behind the scenes at the #doveawards in #nashville, I am forced to sit and contemplate where my life is at. I watched a room full of folks who dressed in glimmer and glamour, enjoy an evening of celebrating a year in Gospel/Christian Music. It was admittedly a fun night for me as I got to see the band #dctalk on stage for the first time in 16 years. Something I really had been wanting to see. I also got to snap a selfie or two with them as well (https://www.facebook.com/RayTinyJrCarman/posts/10155313786388294?pnref=story)

I rubbed shoulders with some of the all time greats, Bill Gaither, Steven Curtis Chapman, and TobyMac, Michael Tait, and Kevin Max Smith. I also met some of the newer faces like Matthew West, Lauren Daigle, Jordan Feliz, Anthony Brown, Tye Tribbet, Hollyn and more. My daughters were excited that I got to snap a selfie with Sadie Robertson from the hit show Duck Dynasty.

It was a fantastic evening to be sure, but when it was over, the reality set in, for all of us, this is but just a fleeting moment. I was able to cross boundary lines usually put between myself and those we hold in high regard because of a little tag I had on. I was given access to rub with these shoulders, including Michael Jr Comedy and Bone Hampton (two very funny guys!) I saw Hillsong United and Philip Craig and Dean. It was all so surreal. But there was something nagging at me the whole time.

Why?

Why was I so fascinated with the fact I was able to cross that invisible line? Why was I enthralled with the fact I got to be close to these people? Why was that so important to me?

Well, the ugly truth is that I had personal motivations. I told my boys the other night that I always wanted to be famous myself. When I was just a young boy, I dreamed of the day I would be powerful, strong, famous, important, and the one someone else hoped to cross a barrier just so they could see me. In other words, I am just a man who maybe longed to have the opportunity to be considered important.

Yet, as I walked these halls with these people I/we look up to, I realized something, they are just people. Unfortunately, I also realized I was invisible to them as they did not know me. That is why I could slip in and out so easily because they assumed I was with someone else. Because they did not know me, I was just one of the crowd. In fact, twice, I was asked for directions around the building because it was assumed I worked there. (of course I happily obliged)

All this to say, isn't it true that we often strive and seek to either be the one people are clamoring for. We want to be the ones on the "red carpet" to have our photos taken and to be considered "elite." And if we are not there, we struggle to get a front row view, just hoping to see the "stars" on the other side. And maybe, just maybe, if we are lucky enough, someone will hand us a badge that gives us access to get up close and personal with these same stars.

Yet, when we are told we have been given a "All Access" badge into the presence of the King of Kings, (Hebrews 4:16, Ephesians 2:18, Matthew 27:51), we treat it with either fear or contempt. God has said, enter into the most Holy of Holy's and be my guest forever, but instead, we glamour to touch the hand or take a selfie with "just another person."

Now, there is nothing wrong or sinful about wanting to meet a person who has influence or who has influenced us. Heck, I just wish one or tow of the folks I saw the other night would learn of #EnjoyTheShepherd and then maybe more doors to share would fly open. But even in that statement I am exposing another ugly truth. I am saying I believe they can open doors and that God cannot.

I hope they remember my name, but He has already told me He will never forget. I hope they will find a way to enlarge my territory, but He already owns the territory and only He controls who goes in and out. I hope a celebrity will help me expand my reach, but God's hands are much stronger and only He can save.

I am saying all this to say this, the ugly truth is, we as a people are sorely lacking in our taking advantage of our "backstage pass" into the presence of our God. I know I am. I have full,unfettered access to the King of Kings, but I often am reaching out hoping a prince or duke of this world will see me. Do you know this struggle?

Just the fact you are reading this amazes me, as I am just a man myself who struggles so deeply. I want to be a man of prayer, faith, hope and trust, but my reality is a man who wrestles with anxiety, fear, distrust and unbelief. I struggle to slow down, be still, and simply spend time with my Good Shepherd. I so desperately want to be a good shepherd to His people, that I forget to simply be His sheep so often. And I have a feeling all those people I was so impressed with the other night who have a major platform from which to stand and speak, I bet they struggle just like me, for they are human just like I am.

But praise be to God that He does not judge me for who I am, but sees me for who He has made me to be. A New creature through the offering of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Praise be to his name, for who would have imagined a little guy and a lamb in a stall on a small farm in TN could have shared a message of His hope and love that would have reached around the world. I know I did not.

And though I struggle daily to continue and press on as I watch "view count" fall daily, I sit in awe and wonder that He is smiling down on me and has answered my prayers to be used by him. Yes, I "failed" some would say to "strike while the iron was hot" but I know God has struck the blow His heart has desired. I, like Paul, pray for the strength to press on in this fight, to continue my race with patience and endurance until that day He calls me home!

(Prayer Request:

1. I have a pretty big need to trust God for His provisions for my family.

2. I am working on several projects like the children book, the devotional, and getting Agents of Smash self- published

3. God has given me a business idea which we are praying through and working through which I pray will be an opportunity to turn my two passions, ministry and Real Estate and Auctions, into a combined effort. Please pray as I seek Gods direction, timing, and trust in this.

Thanks for allowing me to be an under shepherd.

Ray

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